Thyroid UK
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When to take Betaine HCL supplements?

Hi there!

I'm a little confused on the usage of Betaine HCL. I am aware that it is mainly used to digest protein rich foods like meat. However what about bread, dairy, eggs and so on? Looking at the packaging of a lot of things I've been unaware so many things contain protein and some even rival meat in quantity. So now I'm yet to eat breakfast as I'm unsure if I should be supplementing at breakfast and other mealtimes or only at dinner time, which is my main meal. I always belch, burp, sensation of a brick in my stomach, abdominal distention, discomfort and excessive amounts of gas production every time I eat after every meal. Yesterday just to test though I ate unhealthily in the manner of chicken nuggets, breaded chicken steak and mash mixed with sweet potatoes. I took 2 x 325mg HCL with 5mg pepsin in each tablet. Surprisingly I felt a lot better, normally I would belch and burp for hours and suffer with a heaviness sensation in my stomach for hours. It was amazing.

Thanks in advance!

3 Replies

karganeth, take 1 Betaine Pepsin capsule before ALL meals to aid digestion by raising stomach acid. If you are eating a protein rich meal you may need 2 capsules.

You might want to look at gluten in your diet causing digestive upset. 2 or 3 months 100% gluten-free should be long enough to judge whether symptoms improve.


I found this for done know if any good........

How to Figure Out Your Betaine HCL Dose

Each person will have a specific supplementary HCL dosage. Unfortunately, there isn’t a special formula I can give you to figure it out. This is a case of trial and error until you get to the correct dosage. Failing to get to your correct dosage can remove the benefits of supplementing.

You must find the right dosage for you situation. If you fail to do the trial and error you’re wasting your time and money.

This is a very common problem we see with our readers. Remember, the stomach is purposely built to handle extreme acid environments. If your correct dosage is 2400mg and you’re only taking 1200mg, you’re not really doing your stomach any favors. You must follow the process below to figure out the right dosage to get the maximum benefit.

Eat a meal that contains at least 15-20grams of protein (about 4-6ounces of meat).

Start by taking 1 pill (650mg or less) of Betaine HCL during the beginning of the meal.

Finish the meal as normal and observe your body for any changes in feeling associated with the stomach and belly button area. Things to look for: heaviness, hotness, burning, or other GI distress.

Stay at this dosage of 1 pill for another day of meals with protein and if you don’t notice anything on the 3rd day, try 2 pills.

Stay there for another day and then try 3 pills.

Keep increasing the number of pills taken with each meal until you notice some GI discomfort described in step #3.

When this happens, you will know your ideal Betaine HCL dosage is 1 pill less. For example, if you felt the discomfort going from 5 pills to 6 pills, then 5 pills is your proper dosage for a normal meal.

A Couple Points to Clarify:

– If you eat a snack or a meal without much protein, you won’t need as much Betaine HCL (for a small snack like a piece of fruit you won’t need any at all)

– When you experience the GI discomfort finding your correct dosage, you can mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 8oz of water and drink it to help lessen the pain.


Hello karganeth,

Hypothyroidism can depleat the stomach of the hydrochloride acid required for digestion and nutrient absorbtion. Betaine HCL replaces this acid and I find it best to swallow the pills halfway through my meal to avoid that horrid "warm tummy acid thing" that can happen if you have too much.

I can usually only tolerate one tablet but recently have managed two when eating particularly heavy protein meals. The less hydrochloride acid you have, the harder it will be to tolerate additional doses.

Bile can also be depleated and effect digestion but be replaced with billary support.

You may also benefit from supplementing digestive enzymes taken just before the meal.

I have been supplementing all of these and my gut issues are definately slowly improving.


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